Bill Hess is a professional, full-time freelance photographer and author based in Wasilla, Alaska. For nearly 30 years, he has made his career by putting together publications that serve the Alaska Native Eskimo, Indian, and Aleut communities. Most prominent among these is Uiñiq Magazine, a photojounalistic publication that Hess created with funding from the North Slope Borough in 1985 and published regularly through 1996.
From time to time, he still does a special issue.
Hess also produced Alaska's Village Voices for the RurAL Alaska Community Action Program from 1997 through 2006 and through it covered the major issues that faced Alaska Native communities and he did so by traveling to and spending time in Native villages in every region of the state.
He did most of his travels for these and other publications in his Citabria 7GBC tandem, two-seater, fabric-clad, stick controlled, 150 hp Lycoming powered airplane, before he crashed it.
He began his career in Alaska working as a reporter/photographer and then editor of the Tundra Times, a weekly tabloid that served all of Native Alaska.
Before that, he served for three years as the Editor, reporter, photographer, delivery boy and what have you for the Fort Apache Scout, the official paper of Arizona's White Mountain Apache Tribe.
He is the author and photographer of the book, Gift of the Whale: The Iñupiat Bowhead Hunt - A Sacred Tradition (Sasquatch) and the photographer of the recent Celebration: Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian Dancing on the Land (University of Washington Press). He has also done a series of children's books for the North Slope Borough School District, as well as other books on commission.
His work has appeared in a host of national and international publications, ranging from National Geographic to Geo.
In 1999, Hess earned the First Runner-up grant from the W. Eugene Smith Fund for Humanistic Photography.
Now, Hess is looking for the ways and means to transfer his talents and work into online photojournalism and artistic expression. Although as of yet he has little idea how to go about it and lacks the means to devote more than a limited fraction of his time to the effort, this blog is his first foray into learning how to make it happen.
Photos by Bill Hess
Bill Hess Photography